July 15, 2016 Articles

Construction Trial Tips: Old School Demonstrative Evidence

Sometimes counsel may find simple, rather than high-tech, presentation of evidence makes the most sense

by James H. Landgraf

These days, it is difficult to conceive of trying a case, let alone a construction case, before a judge or jury without taking advantage of the full menu of electronic bells and whistles to present your demonstrative evidence. Courtrooms are being designed and constructed to include all manner of electronic and computer equipment. Trial attorneys are tempted to make use of every bit of technology possible, particularly those involved in construction matters where we are bombarded with marketing materials from consultants who promise to dazzle with their demonstrative reconstructions, charts, models and the like. We are advised that the jury of today and tomorrow will be comprised of millennials who can only concentrate if they are presented evidence via state-of-the-art extravaganzas.

Sometimes, just sometimes, construction trial counsel may find going “old school” makes the most sense. This may be due to cost (bells and whistles are not inexpensive and may require additional personnel in the courtroom to effectively present them). It may be due to space or the lack of certain technological capabilities of a given courtroom. It may be due to a desire to take a break from high technology and try to simplify portions of the presentation.

Going old school does not require a lot of equipment. An easel, flip-chart, and “blow-up” photographs or charts can suffice.

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